Most of the time when I give one of my kids an instruction they say something along the lines of, “I don’t want to”. It could be, “one second”, “not right now”, my 2 year olds current favorite, “not today”, or just plain ignoring. It is amazing at how good they are at blowing me off and disobeying. It is non-stop. Sometimes they obey, “all the way, right away, with a happy heart” but the older the get the less willing they are to prefer me and obey. Sometimes, if they are in deep focus, ignoring, or denial I will say, “lollipop” or “ice cream” just to make sure their ears are working. It is amazing how fast their heads whip around and they snap out of their distraction and respond. They don’t usually get the treat and I explain to them why.
Obviously, I want my kids to obey me and ultimately have my parenting point them to God and give them a solid foundation of loving authority and understanding the blessing that comes from obedience to the Lord first and earthly authority second. Having our mind and our heart in sync is serious work and obeying from the heart is even more so. Honestly, I totally get it. I get each of their responses and resistance to obey. I understand and completely sympathize with not wanting to obey or follow instruction. It is hard. It’s not fun. It is not comfortable. It goes against every inch of our body and sinful nature. Being born into sin, disobedience and selfishness are as natural as breathing. It is just so normal and so easy to be selfish and undisciplined.
As childish as my kids are it is amazing at how similar my heart is towards the Lord as a child is towards their parent. In our home when we talk about submission, authority, obedience or the like we always remind the kids about the hierarchy of the home: Kids are in charge of themselves (and their blanket) Mommy and Daddy are in charge of the kids. Daddy is the leader and authority over Mommy. We all submit to the Lord. Sometimes when Gavin asks me to do something, I be sure to look at the kids and tell them that I don’t really want to do xyz but I love daddy and that is why I obey. I think it is good to model submission and obedience to kids, we talk about it all the time and I think it is helpful and right to model what obedience from the heart means. It is so easy for me to get into a childish mood; being slow to obey, complaining or other sin on my lips, or just flat-out ignore it. Really! And I am not a toddler!
How much more is my heart that way towards the Lord? My heart can be calloused, hard of hearing, selfish, and submissive. It is easy for me to sit down after putting the kids to bed and not want to get up again. I love my comfort! I just want to ignore the tasks and ultimately my heart says, “no thanks Lord, I don’t feel like it”. Really?! What if Christ based His life on emotions? What if he didn’t feel like dying on the cross, or rising again? We would be up a creek! From Christ’s example, basing our choices on our feelings leads to destruction and being alone.
Just a few thoughts about how we should make choices, based on the verses we use with the kids:
- – James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
- John 13:17 “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
- Colossians 3:17 ” And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
- Galatians 5:22-23 ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
- Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
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